A dreary afternoon underscored what was already a somber day for
Goleta postal workers and six Central Coast families.
Coworkers of Charlotte Colton, Ze Fairchild, Nicola Grant,
Maleka Higgins Pineda, Dexter Shannon and Guadalupe Swartz gathered
Tuesday to dedicate a memorial to their friends who were slain one
year ago by a former employee of the mail processing and
Six olive trees have been planted in honor of the victims at the
entrance to the facility at 400 Storke Road. A marble plaque with
the six names has also been placed at the base of the building/s
Olive trees were selected for the memorial as a symbol of peace
and hope in the face of the tragedy.
Last January, former postal service employee Jennifer San Marco,
44, of Grants, N.M., followed another vehicle through the security
gate of the center and then took an employee key card at
San Marco then shot the six workers before turning her 9 mm
handgun on herself.
Sheriff/s deputies also attributed a seventh death to San Marco
when they found the body of Beverly Graham, a former neighbor of
San Marco, in her nearby apartment.
More than 100 people attended Tuesday/s memorial, sharing their
grief and finding support.
Rev. Jon Stephen Hedges gave the invocation, describing the
events of last year as a storm surge that “kicked each of
us in our soul.C
He called for remembrance and healing.
“We each of us need to be healed,C he told the crowd.
“Even the very ground of this place needs to be
“May we all be healed by the strong hand of God,C he
The memorial was the idea of the workers who remain at the
plant, said Richard Maher, a postal service spokesman.
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He added that it was designed by the workers as well and
specifically placed in front of the building where it can be passed
every day, yet within the security fence where it can be kept
private for employees.
He was unaware of any other such memorials at postal service
In the year since the shooting, no additional security measures
have been taken at the plant, said Renee Focht of the U.S. Postal
Inspection Service, which holds jurisdiction over crimes committed
against the postal service.
She noted that the Goleta center has a security gate and doors
activated by key cards, and in every evaluation by the inspection
service, she said, it has always been found to be secure.
She called the tragedy an isolated incident and noted that San
Marco was not a current employee at the time of the shootings.
Goleta City Councilwoman Jonny Wallis, who was mayor at the time
of the shooting, spoke to those who still arrive at the center for
work every day, expressing the community/s admiration.
“Our community has not forgotten the ones we lost,
their family, and friends,C Wallis said.
“We want you to know that our thoughts and prayers are
The ceremony was painful for many in the crowd, who sobbed
quietly and leaned on each other as they listened to the
Kerry Wolny, the postal service/s Sierra Coastal District
Manager, called the shootings a senseless act but said he would
“like to think if (the victims) are looking down, they
would be proud we are here.C
John Byars, the center manager, read each victim/s name, and
then a moment of silence ended with the release of white doves that
circled above the crowd against the slate-gray sky.